Saturday Climbing By Valgardson At first, after reading Saturday Climbing, I found it just to be a simple plain story. A story about Barry climbing a cliff and having flashed back about his daughter. But when I went over the story a several more times, I notice the cliff is actually representing the relationship between Barry and his daughter, Moira. It was a story that shows a single father perspective towards his daughter. W.D. Valgardson uses much symbolism in his story, Saturday Climbing, to help reader gain a greater understanding of his message.
He uses symbolism in two important areas: objects that have symbolic value, and setting, which relates the relation between father and daughter. Many object in Saturday Climbing have important symbolic value. For example, the “chock nut, the wire loop, the carabiner, the rope”, represents the relation between Barry and Moira. “¡Kfragile as they looked, would hold ten times his weight.” Like a rope although their relation seems fragile, but it’s stronger then it seems. The cliff itself is another important symbol. It shows their relation, as time pass by.
“Then, unexpectedly, the surfaces smoothed; the places where he could get a secure hold were spread farther and farther apart.” This quotation reflects the difficulty Barry encounters in his role as a working, single-parent of a teenager. Barry’s secure hold on the rocks, symbolise his monitoring of his daughter. As Moira becomes more independent, it is harder and harder for Barry to keep watching her and make sure she’s safe. Moira is going out late to parties and on dates. Barry can’t be with her all day, and therefore can’t maintain her security.
The secure holds can also symbolise the direction the relationship between Barry and Moira is heading. It seems that they are distancing themselves from each other. Barry has trouble keeping track of what Moira does, and Moira is willing to let Barry into her world by telling him what’s going on. “At the same time, the numerous cracks dwindled until there was no place to set any protection.” This refers to the dwindling of the relationship. It is beginning to crack, or break apart under the stress and pressure. It also symbolises the aspect of growing up that one becomes more independent. Barry will be able to protect Moira less and less, as she starts to find her own way.
When Barry is stuck half way up the cliff, it represents that Barry has encountered a problem with Moira. “If he fall, he would drop twenty-five feet to the piton, then twenty-five feet past it before his rope came taut and held him. There was, because of the elasticity of the rope, a chance that he would ground out.” This is also representative of the risks Barry is willing to take for his daughter in order to salvage their relationship. Barry would go to extremes for his daughter. The exert also shows that one fall and it could be all over.
This is the case in the climb and it is the same in parenthood. A fall could prove fatal, and would lead to failure. In each situation, Barry is under enormous pressure to succeed. Barry,” ¡K set his foot on rough patch that would provide the necessary friction to hold his weight.” The relationship between the main characters is tested throughout. It is often pushed to the edge, on the brink of disaster.
Even though it may seem bleak, the relationship prevails. Just as Barry seems to be able to get himself out of the predicaments on the climb, the father-daughter relationship has overcome its own obstacles. “His daughter, eighty feet below, seemed so small that Barry felt he could lift her into his arms.” Barry still views Moira as being his little girl. She appears small and innocent. She seems too young to be out in the cruel and harsh world.
This view of her may never change, but Barry’s level of acceptance of Moira’s independence will. “From time to time, she paused to pull loose the chock nuts and pitons her father had left behind.” By pulling out the pitons and chock nuts, Moira is saying metaphorically, that she doesn’t require her father’s protection. She wants to handle things on her own, and take on obstacles (such as school) by herself too. “For a moment, he suffered vertigo, and the cliff seemed to sway as if in an earthquake.” This is symbolic of the fact that Barry is afraid to go on because of the uncertainty that surrounds the future (especially concerning his daughter). He is fearful of changes that my come as a result of his daughter’s independence and its impact on their relationship.
Barry doesn’t want his daughter to become like the “frizzy-hair girl”. The swaying of the cliff could also represent the shakiness, and precariousness of their relationship, like when they fight and argue. The frizzy-hair girl represents a child who ran away from home. “For the first time, he had seen how much younger she was than he though.” From this quotation we know that she’s not mature enough. She wasn’t prepared to be independent.
Her situation is for Barry to see as an example. The girl is like a bird trapped in a cage. The more the owner wants to contain it, the more it will want to rebel. And for the girl, her father has tried to trap her so much that she ran away, keeping herself from him. Barry is faced with an epiphany, a sudden realisation when he really sees the girl.
“Once, when she deviated from the route her father had taken, she became stuck at an overhang. Not having dealt with the obstacle himself, Barry could not help, and had to leave her to find her own solution.” This part of the story signifies the moment that Moira breaks off from her father and tries to go her own way. As expected, she had some problems but she was able to conquer them, and reached her goal. This is true in real life as well. It is essential for Moira to learn to solve these problems on her own, because she can’t rely on her Dad forever. This new route is evident where Moira has decided not to attend the local university.
By going to one out of state, this is a new world that Barry knows little about, and will leave Moira figuring out her problems on her own. “The climb seemed agonisingly slow, as if it would never be completed. “The ordeal takes what seems like an eternity for Barry. He sees his daughter in trouble and instinctively he wants to help her, only he can’t. He is forced to sit and wait and see if she makes it.
When Moira is all right, Barry sees that he’s raised a daughter that can take care of herself. He becomes more accepting of the idea of his daughter moving on in life. “They sat side by side, sipping orange juice, their feet dangling in space.” Barry begins to see his daughter as an equal and as an adult. They’re now levelled with each other, seeing eye to eye. They’ve opened up and are expressing what’s on their minds. “Sitting side by side”, they are both independent individuals with their own ways. “Below her, her father ever watchful, full of fear, smoothly paved out the rope, determined to give her all the slack she needed while, at the same time, keeping his hands tensed, ready to lock shut, ready to absorb the shock of any fall.” This final paragraph shows the new approach to parenting Barry has.
He is now willing to be a spectator, rather than an active player in Moira’s life. Barry is willing to g …